Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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24 September 2009
Amputation is hard enough for pet parents. But when faced with a Tripawd cat's remaining leg surgery, the very idea can send a person into panic mode. If that person is you, fear not! Lulu's accident story proves that a full recovery is totally possible.
Does your three-legged cat need a remaining leg surgery?
Share below and post in the Three-Legged Cats Tripawds Discussion Forums for help
From amputation to accident and beyond
Around March, 2020, Lulu lost her rear leg to an outdoor accident. But was this cool cat worried? Not a chance! "She had an excellent recovery and quickly adjusted to life as a tripawd," her mom wrote in Lulu's first Tripawds Discussion Forums post. But that's not why she joined us.
She posted because just six months after bouncing back from amputation surgery, this resilient amputee cat had another accident. Only this one happened inside her house.
"It’s so weird, the only thing I can think is that she attempted to jump on a little bookshelf and missed, or was on it and fell off?! She was literally within eye site, no more than 5 feet away from my husband and maybe 10 feet from me. Neither one of us heard a fall or anything!"
The fracture was bad. Lulu needed a plate, pins, and an external fixator to keep the bones in place for healing.
Shocked and worried, her mom asked:
"Has anyone gone though this situation? Maybe experience with an external fixator? Or just experience with your tripawd injuring the remaining limb?"
None of us who responded could think of another Tripawd cat with a broken leg. Sure, we've been joined by Two Legged Feta and Malek, aka the Two Legged Three Paw. But a Tripawd cat remaining leg surgery recovery with an external skeletal fixator? Not a single one has joined us in our history! All we could do was offer emotional support, recommend feline rehab therapy, and provide Lulu's people a place to lean on.
Here's a helpful video of a cat with external skeletal fixator
A Tripawd cat's remaining leg surgery recovery (with external skeletal fixator)
These are the highlights of what her mom shared. Read Lulu's post surgery update, for all the details.
- When she came home, Lulu had more appetite energy and strength than they expected. "She seems like she’s in good spirits, I’d say much perkier than the day she came home from her last surgery."
- Her post-op pain management included Gabapentin, Buprenorphine syringes, and Robenacoxib antibiotic.
- Two times daily for two weeks, her people would need to clean around the pins of her exterior skeletal fixator (ESF).
- Once a week, for eight weeks, Lulu's ESF bandage required changing
- At eight weeks, vets would determine if the fixator could be removed, or if it needed to stay on longer.
We didn't hear back after that, and hoped that no news was good news.
Lulu was a trooper during recovery!
Then one day, a mysterious Tripawds Foundation donation arrived in our mail. Inside were several checks from Lulu's human family! Her mom wrote to tell us "Oh my gosh Lu is doing amazing! Her recovery went really well… it took longer for the bone to heal but she was a trooper."
Her mobility was limited at first. Lulu scooted around and her mom worried. But this cool cat had it covered.
"The doctor assured me it was normal and she’d eventually get back up on all 3 legs. And she did! It took a while but she did it, and now, a little under a year, she’s back to her new normal… running around the house, bossing the dog around etc.
Lulu ended up wearing the fixator for a whopping twelve weeks. Her recovery ward was a large dog crate that was always close to her family. Surprisingly, her mobility was pretty good and she didn't require much help. She used the litter box post-op without any issues. Four weeks after the fixator was removed, Lulu was cleared by her vet for normal activity.
Total recovery time: about three months. Yay Lulu!
Does your cat have a remaining leg surgery recovery story?
If you have a story to share, please comment below so we can add yours to this post. The Tripawd dog remaining leg surgery recovery stories we've shared have been helpful to other parents facing the same situation. We hope you never do, but if so, we are here to lean on! Join us in the Tripawds Discussion Forums to share more.
Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
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